Metal!

Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day: You Weren't There, But You'll Be Able to Watch

Led Zeppelin was, is, and always will be a driving force in the evolution of heavy metal. Their heavy, guitar-driven blues rock opened the world to an intriguing new sound, influencing generations of bands. Now, more than 40 years after they first came together, they are still one of the most popular rock bands in history, with music that surpasses much of what is produced today.

I would give anything to see them live. Just name it: my car, my left hand, my whiskey habit, my cat, whiskey. Probably even sex.

So, on December 10, 2007, when the surviving members of Led Zeppelin -- Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones, as well as John Bonham's son Jason -- reunited for a concert at London's O2 Arena, I was ecstatic. I would have been there if not for some cold, hard facts: 1. I live almost a thousand dollar plane ride away from the event and 2. I probably couldn't even afford the event ticket prices even if I was in London.

More than 20 million people tried to get tickets, yet only 18,000 were successful. But now at least the rest of us sorry sacks can see the concert in film form. Celebration Day came out on October 17 as a limited-run theatrical release, and will be released in multiple audio and home video formats on Tuesday, November 19.

And while it would be amazing to actually see them live and in person, there's a slim chance that'll ever happen. Jimmy Page recently told Rolling Stone that if there had been more concerts to be done, they would already be talking about them (though he is talking about prepping Zeppelin remasters for re-release in 2013).

Celebration Day was shot on 15 high-definition cameras in the arena, as well as three Super 8s (kind of like those '70s home movie cameras) planted in the crowd. He mixed and matched the Super 8's grainy footage with the HD footage to provide a type of bootleg feel. There is also comedic footage from a news station in Tampa reporting on a Zeppelin stadium concert that drew 50,000 people in 1973.

Celebration Day was given the full "helicopter attack scene in Apocalypse Now" treatment, with things the world has never seen, like close-ups of Jimmy and John Paul Jones playing the bass with his foot pedals while he's on the keyboards, as well as shots from a fixed camera on the drum riser.

Check out the trailer of Celebration Day below, along with shaky-cam fan-shot footage of the actual O2 show.

The documentary is an awesome chance for fans of all ages to experience Zeppelin. Craving more rock and metal documentaries? Check out my past Metal Mondays: In Celebration of the Best Metal Documentaries, where I discuss Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986), Decline of Western Civilization 2: The Metal Years (1988) and Pantera: 3 Vulgar Videos From Hell (1999).


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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise